For several months, police officers in the city received complaints about the loss of articles from hotels and private rooms. Upon hearing these complaints, Chief of Police William F. Sims instructed his men and they went to work on the case.


For several months, police officers in the city received complaints about the loss of articles from hotels and private rooms. Upon hearing these complaints, Chief of Police William F. Sims instructed his men and they went to work on the case.

For about 10 days, Chief Sims devoted his entire time to the case. He instructed his officers to be on the lookout for what he knew to be a “Robbers Roost.” Possibly a “fence,” or a house where the robbers were stashing the loot. On May 10, 1904, these efforts by the Chief paid off.

Having been given a “tip” that there were some new people living down by the Rock Island bridge, in the southeastern part of the city, he sundered down that way. Instead of houses, he found a couple of tents in the suspect district. Into one of them he quickly took the investigation. In it he found trunks, boxes, bags, and other receptacles that looked suspicious to the Chief.

He called for a “special officer” to keep watch on the place and to arrest anyone entering the tent. However, the assigned officer spread the news in the community before taking up his duties. The Chief later said that the thieves were apparently “tipped off” by their friends in the town and no one showed up at the tents to be arrested.

After giving up all hope of capturing the perpetrators, Chief Sims sent a “transfer man,” with a big stake wagon to carry the merchandise back to town. He was assisted in this transfer by Deputy Jack Kelley and another officer named Burnett.

When the “stuff” was unloaded by Chief Sims, he made sure there were witnesses, mainly in the form of a reporter from the local Shawnee Herald. There were a lot of women’s hats, gloves, hosiery, shirt waist and dresses and lingerie, that the reporter described would “make a bachelor’s eyes bug out.” Then came the revelation of men’s furnishings and two Winchester rifles, saddles, harness trappings, a clock, saws, hammers, wrenches, and many other items.

When the inventory was finished, Chief Sims made a statement:

“I never was so vexed in my life as I was when I found that these thieves and burglars had been given a chance and finally made their getaway. I had a good description of what I believe to be the leader of the gang. He could have been easily landed, but for the official leak of which I have told you about.”


The graduating class of 1904 exercised their accomplishments on June 3, at the Opera House. The sale of tickets went on sale at the Owl Drug Store, with admission tickets being required for attendance. The interesting program included literary and musical numbers. There were musical selections by alumni and original compositions by members of the graduating class. The keynote speaker was C. Porter Johnson from Oklahoma City. The presentation of the diplomas was handled by R.E. Wood of Shawnee.

The program consisted of the following:

Invocation by Rev. S.A. Fulton, of the North Presbyterian Church; “Heaven in Poetry” was delivered by Clara Belle Johnson; an original story presented by Neal Raphael Clark; and another other reading by Hazel Sessions Cowdrey; a March and Chorus from Tanhauser by Pearl Bishop, slated to be a 1907 graduate, and Gertrude Robertson from the future class of 1906; “Songs in History,” delivered by Lena Ellen Peyton; “Faces,” presented by Edna Ruth Byerley; a Piano Solo from Mrs. James M. Aydelotte; “Parasitism” by William Ethel Hall; “Significance of the West” by Grace Jane Robertson; a single statehood talk by Edith Evelyn Davis; followed by the keynote speaker and finally the presentation of diplomas.


The new Katy passenger depot opened to the public on July 2, 1904. Agent J.M. Snedaker transferred his headquarters to the new building only days before.

The new spot stood just south of Broadway with broad brick walks leading to it from both Broadway and Bell streets. The lower part of the depot was stone veneered and the upper, red shingles which with a green roof made a pretty color scheme.

The waiting rooms for ladies and gentlemen joined in a big hallway leading from one to the other, the ticket window being in the hall. The ladies’ waiting room was on the east end, while the gentlemens’ was on the west end, with the ticket booth and business office in the center on the south side.

Even though the structure appeared to be a fine depot, it did not compare either in cost or beauty with the Santa Fe. The actual first train stopped there the day before.


Not much had been said of Oklahoma Territory as an oil producing region compared with Indian Territory and Kansas by the summer of 1904. However, much quiet work had been going on by the Bradford and Kane companies. It was known that Standard Oil for several years had a large amount of prospective oil lands tied up in Oklahoma Territory.

H.E. Shaffer, of Kane, recently returned from an extensive trip that covered all the southwestern oil fields, spending the major portion of his time in Oklahoma, looking over the geological status of the territory. At the same time acquiring by lease and purchase much land. He was very enthusiastic over the matter and he considered that Oklahoma would become the greatest oil producing territory in the world.

The Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Company of Kane, PA, was formed by Shaffer as president. The company secured 10,000 acres in a connected body near Shawnee, of which 4,500 acres were covered with valuable coal. At three different places on the land, the gas seeped through to the surface in such quantities that it could be lighted and burned.

Shawnee was a city nearing 10,000 and the Pennsylvania company had already secured a franchise to supply the town with gas for fuel and light for a period of 20 years, and produced within four miles of the city. Many of the Bradford men and firms held leases adjacent to the Pennsylvania company holding. One was the Matson Oil Company.

A time was coming when the oil field business would take off in the region, causing another boom in the area.

(Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian. He is currently researching and writing the comprehensive history of Shawnee. Look for its publication in late 2018.)